When it comes to sports equipment, the parts often seem so simple. Despite the simplicity of their appearance, they frequently have a lot of science behind them. Each piece has been carefully crafted to work together for a specific purpose. Knowing this purpose can easily help you to improve your technique and game.
This is especially true when it comes to your lacrosse stick. Each aspect has an impact on how well you can play, how you catch, and an impact on how the ball is released. There are things to consider in every area of the design. The depth of the netting can't be deeper than the ball. The shooting strings will impact your release on the ball, and girls' and boys' lacrosse requires different heads and stringing.
This article will familiarize you with your lacrosse stick. We will discuss every different piece of the lacrosse stick and how it affects your game. By the end, you will know about how the parts work together.
The head of the lacrosse stick is the most important part of your stick. It’s the part you use to catch and pass the ball. This is made up of your shooting string, your V strings, your pocket, your sidewall, your neck and throat, and the edge of your handle shaft. These are all incorporated in the mainframe and the pocket.
The frame contains the scoop, which is used to grab the ball and control it while it's on the ground. It also contains the sidewalls, which are how the pocket attaches to the frame. Finally, the offset is the curved part of the frame that bends away from the center line at the handle.
The pocket consists of the mesh and netting. This is where the ball is caught and held. The mesh holds the ball and the strings above it (shooting strings) help control the speed and direction of the ball. The sidewall strings connect the pocket to the sidewall and frame.
The National Federation of State High School Associations and the National Collegiate Athletic Association set the rules for the head size. The NFHS is in charge of the regulation for boys and girls and the NCAA sets the standards for adult men and women. For NCAA men, the head needs to be between 6 to 10 inches wide and for women, it needs to be between 7 and 9 inches wide. Goalies for both genders have heads up to 12 inches.
The width of your head is important. The wider the head, the greater the surface area available to catch and pass the ball. The narrower the head, the better the precision and accuracy you have while the ball is under your control. Thus, a lot of more advanced players prefer the narrow nets and beginners like the wider ones.
The shape of your head will vary based on a lot of factors. Your skill level, as mentioned above, Another factor is the position you have on the field. Some positions need the extra width while others need precision.
An offset head is the most popular option. It drops down at the throat, which allows the ball to be placed lower in the pocket for better control and accuracy. Traditional heads are used by beginners. These extend straight outward from the handle. Curved heads have a sidewall that curves towards the throat for better accuracy.
As far as positions go, offensive players need a head that allows for better control and precision while defenders need stiff heads that have more durability and can defend. Goalies need wider heads so they can block incoming shots.
The scoop is the very top of the head. This is what players use to maneuver and grab balls from the ground and put them in the pocket. It's also where the mesh top attaches to the head. The important things to consider with a scoop are the drop and width.
A scoop's width often depends on the width of the whole head, but the drop is specific to each scoop. The drop is the amount of the center of the school, where it dips. Flat scoops have no dips. These are great for beginners because they allow you to control the ball better. Curved scoops have larger dips, which are better for advanced players because they get better accuracy on their shots.
The sidewalls are the side of the head. They have a lot of important jobs. This is also where you attach the pocket, which means you must pay attention to regulations when stringing. For example, a ball that is held in a pocket needs to be visible from the sidewalls or your stick won't be legal. Thus, the pocket can't be deeper than the ball.
This means you need to pay attention to how deep your sidewall gets. Lower and higher variants all affect the depth of your pocket and how easy it is to keep the ball in the pocket. This pertains to ball retention.
These sidewalls also have varying degrees of stiffness. The flexibility (or lack thereof) in a sidewall will determine how stiff the overall head is. Stiffer sidewalls are heavier o wield but you can defend with them much easier because of how sturdy they are. Offensive players who need speed and agility to attack will need a lighter ad more flexible sidewall.
The throat is what attaches the head to the shaft. If you’re buying a stick that is already complete, you won’t need to worry about this as much. Still, the throat’s angle can make a significant difference in your overall gameplay.
Some heads use a throat that flares upwards towards the head. These come with sharp angles that will add extra tension to your strings. This is because it pulls across the top of your stick’s throat. Other designs can reduce the rattle in the head, offering a more secure fit between the shaft and head.
If your shaft and head are separated, then it becomes important to consider your throat. You can match different components pretty easily, even among manufacturers, but some newer throat models won’t fit all the standard shafts.
The main difference in these shafts is the shape. It’s important to keep in mind whether or not you want a hollow one. Make sure your throat is compatible with your head and shaft and whether it has any special functions that might render it incompatible.
The netted and meshed part of your stick is the pocket. This is perhaps the most important part of your entire stick, and certainly the part with the most regulations. When it comes to stick legality the pocket is the main determinant. Usually, the rules for women's lacrosse are more strict than those for men.
For boys' lacrosse, guidelines include pockets that need to be attached closely to the sidewall. It also needs to be taut enough or the ball to go through the distance between sidewall and pocket.
Pockets should not have any holes or gaps that exceed 1.5 inches when strung. Wide pockets are best for beginners because they make it easy to catch balls. Narrow pockets offer better accuracy for players with experience controlling the ball.
Deeper pockets also offer more control over the ball, but shallow pockets allow the ball to be released more quickly for shots and passing. A good way to ensure a legal pocket depth is by turning the head 90 degrees forward with the stick perpendicular to the ground with a ball in the pocket. If the ball doesn't fall out, then you need to restring it for a pocket that isn't as deep.
Nylon mesh pockets don't require much adjustment but they are also looser than other pockets, so they don't perform as accurately. A lot of goalies like these pockets. Traditional ones use nylon strings woven around leather straps.
Pre-strung pockets are great for beginners, but more experienced players are able to string their own pockets. This allows for a custom pocket, giving them the amount of control versus ease of use that is best for their skill level.
Pockets come in low, mid, or high style. This is determined by where the pocket rests on the head. The most common pocket is a mid pocket. New players like it, and it is good for any position to use.
High pockets have more space between the ball stop at the base and better control over the ball can be achieved with these. Lower pockets are positioned nearer to the throat of the head. This allows the ball to rest near the stock so it can be held with a single hand. Offensive players like this position because they can use their other arm while dodging players.
The shaft is also important. Although it isn't as technical as the previous section, there are some considerations. The main consideration is the length of the shaft. This is governed by regulations. The material is also important. Usually, players who choose wider heads also want longer shafts. This creates big sticks.
For men, attackers will need a minimum stick length of around 30 inches. This allows them control over their ball. Defenders will end up with the longest sticks. These will often run up to 60 inches, allowing for a massive reach. Midfield positions need a happy medium between the lengths.
Women’s hockey sticks are much smaller. The range is somewhere between 36 and 44 inches in size. The same pattern tends to apply to women’s sticks. Smaller sizes work well for attacks and long ones are great for defense.